Now is the Winter of our Disconnect
by VEG-HEAD on JANUARY 19, 2011 - 5 Comments in SPIRIT

Its for their own good

Delightful new book by Susan Maushart describes how she unplugged her teenagers and gave them back their lives.

For six months, she took away the Internet, TV, iPods, cellphones and video games. iPhones  no longer chirped through the night like “evil crickets.” And she stopped them carrying their gadgets  into the bathroom.

Like so many teens, they couldn’t do their homework without simultaneously listening to music, updating Facebook and trading instant messages. If they were amused, instead of laughing, they actually said “LOL” aloud. Her girls had become mere “accessories of their own social-networking profile, as if real life were simply a dress rehearsal (or more accurately, a photo op) for the next status update.” (more…)

Half of China’s wind power is off the grid
by TECHSTAR on JANUARY 17, 2011 - 5 Comments in ENERGY

More power than US from Chinese wind

China is now the world’s largest generator of wind energy and nearly half of the power produced by wind turbines inside China is not connected to the Grid. If that works for the world’s fastest growing economy, then why not in the West as well?

China’s installed wind-generation capacity reached 41.8 GigaWatts (GW) at the end of last year, compared to 40.2GW in the US.
The China Electricity Council said only 22.9GW was grid-connected in August last year, although there have been additional installations since then. So around 20GW are produced by wind farms or single turbines generating  power that is only available in the local area, causing an increase in population and industry in these areas. (more…)
Grid tie solar useless in Queensland flood crisis
by NICK ROSEN on JANUARY 13, 2011 - 5 Comments in EVENTS

Solar roof - but no power

With Queensland’s capital Brisbane devastated in the Australian floods, householders are learning the disadvantages of grid tied solar.

Because of the way Utility companies in Australia and the world over, insist on gaming the system, grid-tied solar panels only produce power when the grid is running. So they fail to fulfil the main purpose that many people buy  them for – to give safety and independence from the collapsing energy and financial system.
However, there are ways to convert a grid-tie system to work off-grid in emergencies – just a shame that the Utility companies do not provide a simple trip switch to allow homeowners  to operate the panels off-grid when needed.
Here is how to do it (more…)
Food and medicine

People, it’s time to stock up on what you can now, things aren’t getting any better, and our money is losing value every day. The best way to maintain the value of the money you have now is to go ahead and buy the things you need now, you can just about guarantee that what you buy now will be going up in price in the near future. (more…)

Solar powered rainwater pump
by TECHSTAR on JANUARY 10, 2011 - 1 Comment in SOLAR, WATER

Low cost water-mover

We received this press release for RainPerfect solar pumps, and wondered if anyone had tried the product yet? The key factors are the power of the pump, the battery life, and the cost of replacement batteries.

How RainPerfect Works:
You can finally get water pressure from your rain barrel with the RainPerfect pump. The RainPerfect pump and solar panel install easily and provide plenty of pressure through an ordinary garden hose. This effective pressure is enough to run most low pressure sprinklers, wash a car or water just about anything around your home. With the solar panel there is no need for an electrical outlet making the RainPerfect pump ready to go anywhere anytime.
Food storage 101 – milk
by WRETHAOFFGRID on DECEMBER 29, 2010 - 9 Comments in FOOD, WRETHA

This was an incredibly hard, yet interesting topic to research. Because milk (in it’s many forms) is so important to us, there is a LOT of info on the internet about it. History fact: the first person to use powdered milk (that we know of) was Marco Polo for his trips around the world. Amazing to think how far we have come since his first trials of a home dried paste like substance. Imagine how that must have tasted after a year at sea! (more…)

Army readies to sever from the grid
by TECHSTAR on DECEMBER 26, 2010 - 3 Comments in ENERGY

Strategic value of off-grid energy

By the end of 2011 the U.S. Army will have ended its dependence on the grid  at several major homeland bases.  It is also sending technology to Afghanistan that’s designed to minimize energy consumption of generators on bases there. The goal is to reduce the number of fuel deliveries that convoys need to be make across dangerous parts of the country. The first field-ready “microgrid” will link a base’s generators to a central controller that will turn them on and off depending on if they’re actually needed. A system has been tested in Ft. Irwin, Calif. The Army hopes to deploy it by the summer.

Its one of a number of off-grid and microgrid initiatives being tested by the military that will prove the potential of off-grid energy to serve medium-sized communities and may then make its way into civilian use. (more…)

Res Publica publishes our call for off-grid UK villages
by MARESE on DECEMBER 21, 2010 - 0 Comments in COMMUNITY

Res Publica, a London Think Tank for “Radical Traditionalists” has published Nick Rosen’s call for off-grid settlements in the UK.

The Disraeli Room is ResPublica’s blog, where experts, fellows and friends of all political stripes from the worlds of policy making, social innovation and entrepreneurship meet to swap ideas, debate and provoke.

“Policymakers need to recognise that, whilst it may not, in the short-term, become a mainstream housing offer, it is an idea worth taking seriously and that on its own will make a noticeable difference,” wrote Nick Rosen in the blog posting.

Read more here:

Indiana zoning battle
by NICK ROSEN on DECEMBER 19, 2010 - 27 Comments in LAND

Dick Thompson "not sanitary"

A landowner in Madison County, Ind. has been told to stop living on his own plot because in doing so he is breaking zoning ordinances.

The case of 72-year-old Dick Thompson is being taken up by net activists, angry that you cannot choose to live harmlessly on your own land in a  rural setting, at least not in Indiana.

Thomson bought 38 acres of farmland from his parents, and lived there in his white trailer — along with his dog, Ace, his horse, Fritz, ad his bird, Sunshine, which likes peppermints. (more…)

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